By STEPHANIE LEE
Khalid giving his assurance on security as he speaks to residents in Lahad Datu.
LAHAD DATU 23/03/2013: A son of a former Kampung Tanduo village chief is believed to be the local coordinator for the Sulu terror group.
He was among four people, two of whom are key figures behind the group, who were arrested over the past 24 hours.
The other is the Sulu group's military commander who was picked up while hiding in the swamps in Semporna as police further crippled the Sulu terrorists network operating there and in Lahad Datu.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the two key figures were arrested with their wives.
Sniffer dogs take a breather with their handlers during Ops Daulat
He said the local coordinator, in his early 40's, was arrested with his wife in the Felda Sahabat area at about 10pm on Friday.
The man possessed a Malaysian identity card, he told reporters.
The man is being detained under the Immigration Act pending verification of his identification documents.
"He is an important figure as he was the one who arranged for accommodation, food, drinks and medical treatment since the group arrived here (Feb 9)," Khalid said.
He said the military commander, in his late 40s, was arrested at about 1am on Saturday and has a Philippines passport.
"Now we believe the group has been further crippled. They have lost their source of local support and they now have no direction," Khalid said.
He did not elaborate on the identity of the commander.
He said the arrests were made possible with the assistance of the local communities.
So far, 408 people have been detained under the various laws since the launching of the offensive against the Sulu terror group dubbed as Ops Daulat on March 5.
Another 108 people have been detained under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA).
Sixty-three gunmen have been killed in the ongoing offensive.
On Thursday's Kembara Sakti incident in Felda Sahabat where more than 1,000 fled their villages after hearing that a woman was held hostage, Khalid said:
"From our initial investigation, what happened yesterday was made to be more serious that it actually is."
"There is no reason for the community there to feel afraid. They can return home. We will be with them,'' he added.
Khalid said he would be meeting the residents to assure them of their safety.